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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Warren Miller's Impact
Warren Miller's Impact
Shout Factory // Unrated // October 4, 2005
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeff Paramchuk | posted August 17, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The man's been doing this for 55 years now, and he gets it right every single time. Warren Miller's 55th winter sensation Impact is making its way to DVD like a face full of powder on the clearest of days.

Living in Alberta, less than an hour from some world class mountains, I always knew ski season was approaching when the latest Miller film made it's way to the theaters around town, it was always a great way to tell you to get your skis or snowboard out of the garage, throw on some fresh wax and wait for the snow to fall. Some people will roll their eyes and think, "Oh yay, yet another ski film set to new rock music", but Miller's films take a step beyond all those other sports movies and really help draw fans and non-believers into the more than 90 minute look into the fluffy world of mountain sports.

But after 55 films, hasn't Warren Miller shown it all already? I mean, how many times do we need to see a helicopter dropping a skier off on the mountain and see him carve his or her way down an untracked pillowing mountain? I for one can watch it again and again. What makes Miller's films stand out is the insight he gives into each scene with a voice of experience and dry sense of humor filling in the gaps. He makes you feel like you're sitting in his living room with him while enjoying a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate with Irish Cream in it. Each scene in this movie stands out on it's own, with "topics" such as "Warren's Angels" where we follow a group of hard working women as they are taking to blast down some sweet lines on the mountain; and other nice behind the scenes things such as explaining the job that the camera people have to go through. Quite a job!

Naturally, there are a lot of sections which feature some incredible wipeouts, ranging from a single person launching off moguls for almost an entire minute (yes, this is one person sliding down the hill), to some nasty looking tubing accidents where the bodies really fly thanks to the rubber inner tubes they fly down the mountain on. Needless to say, there is plenty in this film to keep you entertained for the 90 minute running time.

Not content with a single mountain, a single athlete to profile, or even a continent to highlight, Impact takes us on a high altitude tour of the world visiting locations in Canada, France, Mexico, the USA and even Bulgaria. Each location brings us a unique set of athletes to watch such as sit-down skier Sarah Will, and former Olympians like Kelly Clarke.

How does it look:

Lots of slow motion powder and sunshine permeate the landscape of Impact, which is presented in a full frame aspect ratio from Shout! Colors were very sharp and crisp, and I didn't notice any compression issues with the large amount of bright and contrasting colors that are throughout Impact. As mentioned, a lot of slow motion is used, but it still makes an impact (pardon the pun), showing the detail in the shots like snow starting to avalanche and a skier losing his equipment in a cloud of snow during a spectacular wipeout.

How does it Sound:

Two audio options are here, a two channel stereo selection as well as a 5.1 Dolby Digital. Switching between the two offered a slight change in the sound, and actually I almost found the feature better suited to the two channels, thanks to the abundance of music in the feature ranging from artists like the Dandy Warhol's and The Vines to Jane's Addiction and Radiohead.

Extras: Extras on a feature like this seem tough to pull together, but Shout! has managed to throw some on here. A few deleted scenes are here, one featuring a snowboarding alligator, another a whole lot of swearing, bleeped out however, and some bloopers of the "acting" that some of the athletes do in the opening shots of the film. Also included is a behind the scenes feature in Bulgaria which runs about 5 minutes and features some of the athletes chatting in a lodge about making the movie, and also a short snippet of them fumbling with the language barrier on a Bulgarian talk show. The final feature is a fireplace for your TV, sound effects and all. Throw this on your player and loop it and you'll set the mood quite nicely.

Closing:

Fifty-five years and fifty-five films later, Warren Miller still has what it takes to keep the crowd entertained and coming back year after year to watch his fantastic movies, and Impact is no exception to the high quality sports videos that his name has become synonymous with. For fans of Miller, and people who enjoy an entertaining looks at winter sports I recommend adding this title to your collection as watching some of these skiers and snowboarders glide down some of the most pristine mountainsides you'll ever see never gets old. Recommend.
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